Reference Blog

Bluet Oy has designed and implemented a technically challenging floating infinity pool at the idyllic Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como hotel in Italy. The pool was commissioned by the legendary luxury hotel group Mandarin Oriental. Bluet succeeded in realizing the architects’ vision of a stable aquatic oasis blending seamlessly with the lake view. Pressure-testing for the stabilizing solutions required by the project was conducted at VTT’s laboratory in Otaniemi, Espoo.

The luxury Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como resort in Italy now features a new and unique floating pool with a sundeck and a special 40-meter infinity edge, delivered by Bluet. The project was commissioned by the globally admired luxury hotel group, Mandarin Oriental, after dissatisfaction with their previous pool solution which tended to sway about unpleasantly.

Narrow-edge infinity pools create an illusion of water with no boundary, extending to infinity. Because infinity pools are filled to the brim to maintain the illusion, they require that the edge be level within fractions of a millimetre.

“Our initial reaction was that this is an impossible task: an infinity pool 40 meters long, on a floating platform, required to stay virtually fixed in place in restless waters, next to a busy boating lane. It’s like trying to build an infinity edge onto a large boat,” says Technical Director Kimmo Saharinen of Bluet Oy.

Data from wave buoys, wave simulation at VTT

Infinity pools are challenging to implement even on dry land, let alone on a free-floating platform. No one in the world had previously built a free-floating (as opposed to e.g., piled) infinity pool in such scope, so there was no precedent.

“We started by searching for answers to key questions one by one. How do we ensure that the pool structure does not sway about unpleasantly even in rough wave conditions? What type of structure would keep response to oncoming waves to a minimum? What type of moorings would eliminate lateral and vertical movement? How can we restore the infinity effect if the platform were to slightly move, being a floating rather than a fixed structure?” says Saharinen.

Wave buoys were used to collect data on the wave conditions in the area, which helped build a 1:10 scale model of the pool assembly with a sundeck. Testing with the scale model was conducted at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland’s laboratory by simulating Lake Como’s wave conditions in a wave generator. 

Innovation in structures, moorings and stabiliSation

Assembly works for Bluet® Floating pool at lake Como

The project took over two years to complete and met with a number of technical challenges, which Bluet solved with a variety of creative technical solutions. While many of the floating pools delivered by Bluet are based on a barge structure, resembling a ship’s hull, the pool built at Lake Como was designed with a catamaran structure.

Sundeck moorings turned out to be one of the biggest challenges: how to eliminate lateral and vertical movement? Even the possibility of earthquakes had to be considered. For moorings, Bluet eventually arrived at a hybrid solution using existing underwater structures along with 20-meter damped Bluet® underwater arm moorings typically used in houseboats. “The less the structure is in contact with water, the less the wave impact,” Kimmo Saharinen says.

The stability of the pool assembly was improved with heavy-duty corner weights: each corner features four 1,000 kg damping plates that help the structure maintain its balance. Maintaining the infinity effect caused headaches for the Bluet team before they found a solution: the volume of water spilling over the infinity edge was artificially increased by boosting the pumping to about three times that of a regular infinity pool.

Bluet’s early involvement in the project at the conceptual stage was a key element in the project’s success. Throughout the whole project Bluet worked together with Mandarin Oriental project team, one of the being Herzog & de Meuron, the world leading architects, who designed the Beijing Olympic stadium and the Tate Modern gallery in London, among many other distinguished projects.

Como pool works
Como pool “on-season” works

“It was fortunate that we were brought in early in the project because the other parties in the project had no prior experience with floating construction. We helped infuse feasibility already at the design stage and had the opportunity to have a say on the solutions selected to guarantee practicality. Bluet involvement in the beginning of the project prevented the client from paying for an expensive but unfeasible design. One of the early pool concepts involved a round shape, which would have been cost-prohibitively expensive to realise,” says Bluet Oy’s CEO Tytti Sirola. Saharinen sees it as a major accomplishment for Bluet, having successfully realised the vision of world-renowned architects.

“When a vision is finally implemented, it often takes a different shape from the original plans due to technical reasons. With this project, however, we fully achieved it,” she happily concludes.

Floating Infinity Pool at Lake Como, Project Factcheck

  • Overall floating area:  600m2
  • Floating pool: 320m2
  • Infinity edge size: 40 m
  • Project duration: 2021 – 2023. Handout took place in April 2023

Bluet team

Tytti Sirola – Project Director
Kimmo Saharinen – Chief Engineer
Ville Leisti – Technical Advisor
Maija Saarikko – Project Coordinator
Otto Maja – Principal Designer
Design team: Dina Saukko, Rahul Bansode, Nghia Truong, Alexander Brink
Henri Tolppanen – Site Manager

Project in cooperation with:

Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como – client
Herzog de Meuron – architect
Enersense, Pool4you, Highmetal, VTM Oy, Novenberg, Vallmar, Voltigo, Electrowaves, Amt-systems , VTT, AHA Logistics